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10 Ways to Better Utilise Your Time After Work

10 Ways to Better Utilise Your Time After Work

During our lives we constantly strive for accomplishments in our career, and we educate ourselves to reach certain goals according to our ambitions. Being successful in the field we love brings us a lot of happiness, as well as a substantial paycheck at the end of the month, which allows us to provide for our family and go on vacations, have a nice life, and buy some unnecessary material things that simply make us happy.

However, in these busy lives we lead, we mustn’t forget that at the end, success will mean nothing if we forget about our loved ones, and let them forget us. You are never too busy to do everything you want after work, but all you need is a little guide to help you better utilize your limited free time.

1. End your working day at fixed time

“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” – John Wooden

Working overtime brings nothing but bad results, and it makes it impossible to have a private life. As you probably have many other things planned out, if you work overtime you won’t be capable of doing much more than falling on your bed and sleeping till the morning.

If you want to have enough energy to have a life separate from your career, then you should definitely end your workday at a fixed time, so that you can organize your schedule better.

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2. Rest for thirty minutes alone

These days, we are all somehow always in a hurry. We don’t know how to rest and relax anymore. Even having coffee with friends seems to have become a quick 30 minute update of what’s happening in their lives. When was the last time you just sat in a quiet environment and let your thoughts fly around the room?

In order to cope with all the stress you are facing every day, you need to learn to evaluate your day and think about everything that happened. If you don’t, you just pile up all the negativity, and start doing something else as soon as you get home, until you forget everything. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother you subconsciously. So, sit down for at least 30 minutes, take a cup of coffee or tea, and turn off everything that can distract you. Don’t let anything disturb you while you enjoy the silence. This way, you will definitely get some rest from the busy day behind you, and solve all the problems in your head.

3. Plan your next week during the weekend

We tend to make a lot of plans for the following week, but often forget about them, even if we have written them down. Because of this, you should take an hour to organize your life during the weekend.

Moreover, when you make a plan to have dinner with family or friends, you usually write it down while you are in a hurry, or just agree, relying on your good memory to keep a schedule. When you sit down on Saturday or Sunday, don’t forget to go through your mail and messages and check if you agreed to something you possibly forgot.

4. Say “no”

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

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You don’t have much time after work to do everything you want to, so you need to learn to say “no” to people if you want to survive your working week. I’m sure you want to see your friend, parents, fix something around your house, and spend quality time with your family after work; unfortunately, the day is really short, and you cannot make it all happen.

Lucky for you, there are more days in the week, so you will certainly find an hour to see your friends some other day. If you still cannot make it, don’t force your plans, but tell your friends or family that you’ll inform them when you will be available during the weekend and see if that suits them. Now you understand the importance of that one hour of planning, scheduling, and writing everything down.

Also, if your colleagues want you to help them with something that you’ll have to work overtime for, don’t automatically say “yes” but think about it. If you reschedule something at the last minute, it can make a complete chaos in your weekly schedule.

5. Write a blog

“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” – Pat Conroy

Nowadays, almost everyone has a blog and writes their opinion on a wide range of topics. If you ever wondered why people do it, maybe you should start your own blog and see for yourself. Writing our thoughts and sharing can help us deal with certain situations and be a reminder of how we felt at a certain point in our life. Basically, it is your journal that helps you avoid making the same mistakes, while at the same time helping other people deal with similar issues.

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Your life is probably chaotic, and planning is getting tougher. When writing, your chaotic blog posts will soon become organized articles, and this will train your brain to start thinking in a more structured and logical manner. Also, both your job and private life will benefit, as you will have a clear picture of how you evolved as a person and the things you have accomplished along the way. Getting started is fairly easy, you just need to think of a good name, register a domain name, look into affordable hosting, and get a nice WordPress theme (a lot of which are free).

You can have a blog up and running within a day, and then you can start expressing your creativity, which will help you deal with your problems and emotions, and help you gain a few online followers. After some time of writing a blog, compare your decisions to the ones you were making before you started writing regularly. Don’t be surprised to find a noticeable improvement.

6. Know your priorities

In order to better utilize your time, you need to know your priorities. Don’t neglect important things in your life, just because something comes up unexpectedly. If you really want something, you’ll make it happen. The best way to make it happen is not to let other things get in the way.

If your child has their first recital, and you have a lot of work left to complete for tomorrow, remember that big moment will stay imprinted in your child’s memory forever. It is very important to be capable of filtering things, so feel free to postpone a few unimportant tasks and write them down on a piece of paper. You’ll find a way to make them happen later.

7. Adapt other plans to your schedule

Having a life outside of work is incredibly important. During your free time, you can recharge your batteries, do your favorite hobby and be with your family. When planning some other events, make sure you don’t adapt your personal schedule to them, but vice versa.

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8. Exercise before work

By exercising before work you will leave more time after work to dedicate to some other responsibilities, and at the same time prepare yourself for the stressful day ahead of you. If you are used to exercising after work, try jogging or working out in the morning instead. You’ll certainly increase your productivity, as those endorphins will help you keep your cool and stay focused. If you haven’t tried doing exercises in the morning, definitely give it a go and see how your body and mind respond.

9. Ignore social media and turn off your laptop

This has certainly happened to you at some point. You start scrolling your News Feed or chatting with your friends, and when you look at the watch you realize you’ve been doing that for an hour or even more. This is a really bad habit, as you waste a lot of time on something pointless. When you come home from work, and you immediately start logging into all of your accounts, you begin to slowly distance yourself from reality and you lose track of time. This way, instead of playing or talking with your partner and children, you end up wasting time on social media.

If you want to be productive, use the time spent on Facebook or Twitter to promote yourself or your company, and keep it short. You can use the hour or two you’ll save to grab a drink with your friends at the closest bar, and get your news and gossip firsthand. You cannot just disconnect, as we are all used to going through our News Feeds, but you can set a reminder and limit your use of social media.

10. Don’t plan too many things

People become chaotic and disorganized when they want to squeeze all of their plans in one evening. Now, you need to face it – it is impossible. It is completely understandable that you want to do all of those interesting things at once, but you cannot clone yourself (at least for now).

Don’t plan too many things. By using your priority formula and the saying “no” strategy, you can easily decide what plans you’ll go through with, and which ones will have to be postponed or even cancelled. Even if you manage to make a tight schedule that will allow you to do it all, you’ll still sacrifice something and only be in a hurry the whole time.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things happening in our lives. It’s really hard to keep track of everything that is happening. However, you need to think about your family, friends, and yourself in order to be able to organize well and utilize your time after work in the best possible manner.

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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